Northern France
What to do and see within 90 minutes of Calais


March 2016

(entries in red indicate new additions)

Départements are identified with their official number:
59=Nord; 62=Pas-de-Calais; 80=Somme




This website is really just a supplement to Angela Bird's guidebook, Northern France: What to do and see within 90 minutes of Calais (left), now out of print pending a new edition for about 2016.


If you can borrow a copy of the old edition from a library, you will find full details in its 176 pages of hundreds of interesting and off-beat tourist sites throughout the region.
What you see on the website consists of either extra topics not covered in the book (Calendar, Restaurants, Travel routes, Internet links etc), or updated information (new tourist attractions open - or old ones closed) since the last book appeared.


The listings on this site are supplied in good faith, gathered by the author from various sources.

However it is always wise to check details with organisers or tourist offices before making a special journey.

The “département”, or county, is indicated by the following official figures:

=Pas de Calais




Jacqueline, Colas and family in Arras town hall

As the season of “giants” is getting into its stride now, here is a link to the Fédération des Géants du Nord de la France - one of the sites that tells you the dates of the different parades. There is an interactive “Agenda des Géants” with dates for outings.
Here is the site for La Ronde des Géants, which tells you about the history of giants in Belgium, France and other countries; click on “Agenda” to see a list of outings (tip: look for the French flag if you want an outing in France;  not all of them are in the North, by the way).

Henri le Douanier in Godewaersvelde’s Musée Frontalière.




Until 6 Mar 2016

Cher Modèle  Exhibition of drawings and sculptures of the human body by Frédérique Lucien, in collaboration with the Musee du Dessin at Gravelines. Held in Bourbourg;s cultural centre and also in the neighbouring church.

Mon-Sat 9-12 & 1.30-5.30.

Admission free.


CIAC, 1 Rue Pasteur, Bourbourg, nr Gravelines, 59

Until 19 Mar 2016

"La Grande Guerre par le rire"

Exhibition put on by the town’s archive service to look at the Great War through a series of comic postcards by Robert Mallet.

Wed-Fri 2-6, Sat 10-12  2-5  (closed Sun-Tues). Admission free


Hôtel d'Émonville - Place Clemenceau, Abbeville, (Tel 03 22 24 95 16)


Until 20 Mar 2016

Le Chateau de Versailles en 100 Chefs-d’Oeuvre  Exhibition of masterpieces from the magnificent collection of the Chateau de Versailles. They include paintings, sculptures, sleighs, sedan chairs, harness. Wed-Fri & Mon 11-6; Sat, Sun 10-6.30; closed Tues, & some bank holidays such as 14 July, 1 Nov, 25 Dec. Admission 7.50 euros; seniors & students 5 euros; under-18s free (free for everyone on first Sun of month).


Musee des Beaux-Arts, Abbaye St-Vaast, Arras, 62

Until 20 Mar 2016

Le Sport dans la Grande Guerre  A hundred photographs show the importance of sports like football and baseball in cementing solidarity between troops during WWI.

Tues, Wed, Fri 2.30-6; Thurs 3-6; Sat 2-5.

Admission free


Galerie Pierre Pamel, Theatre du Jeu de Paume, Place Emile Leturcq, Albert, 80

Until 21 Mar 2016

MÉTAMORPHOSES  Around 20 works drawn from collections in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, demonstrate how Ovid’s epic poem Métamorphoses has inspired artists from the Middle Ages to today with its mixture of mythological and historical characters.

Wed-Mon 10-6; closed Tues. Admission free.


LOUVRE-LENS, Pavillon de Verre,

Rue Paul Bert

62300 Lens

TL 03 21 18 62 62

Until 28 Mar 2016

Laissez vous conter une histoire !   Taking “Once upon a time…” as a theme, this exhibition looks at stories and legends from antique myths to some more familiar fairy stories.


Chateau-Musée de Boulogne,  62 – Tél  03 21 10 02 20.

Until 31 Mar 2016

Le Château d’Etaples – Une place forte méconnue  An exhibition put on by the town’s Musée Quentovic (now alas closed) about the little-known Chateau of Etaples.  Now destroyed, its history will be told through artefacts and archaeology.

Daily 8am-5pm.

Admission free.


Tourist Office, Etaples, 62

Until 9 May 2016

Histoires : Splendeurs et miseres d’une collection redecouverte  Exhibition of 19th-century works, hung in the museum’s Grand Salon looks at the narrative of the paintings.

Tues-Sat 10-12 & 2-6 (Wed 10-6, Thurs until 9), Sun 2-7. Closed public holidays.


Musée de Picardie, 48 Rue de la République, Amiens (80)

Until 15 May 2016

Dessus-Dessous  Exhibition on two sites of installations by Annette Messager, in a variety of shapes and materials, inlcuding soft toys, embroidery, photographs and drawings.

Beaux-Arts: Tues-Sat 10-12 & 2-6; Sun 2-5; admission 4 euros, concessions 3 euros, under-5s and everyone on first Sun of month free. Closed Mon & public holidays.

Cité de la Dentelle: Wed-Mon 10-5; admission 5 euros, concessions 3.50 euros; under-5s and everyone on first Sun of month free. Closed Tues, 25 Dec, & 1-15 Jan.


Musee des Beaux-Arts, 25 Rue Richelieu


Cité de la Dentelle et de la mode, 135 Quai du Commerce;

Calais, 62


Until 22 May 2016

La Fougue du Pinceau  Exhibition of works by painter Robert Combas.

Wed-Mon 2-6.

Closed Tues, and also 25 Dec, 1 Jan & 1 May.

Admission 3.50 euros; children, students and disabled free; free for all on first Sun of month.


Musee du Touquet-Paris-Plage, Villa Way Side, corner of Avenue du Golf and Avenue du Chateau, Le Touquet, 62


Until 29 May 2016

Marie Hendriks, un univers empreint de baroque et de merveilleux...

Installations by a Dutch artist are dotted around among the permanent exhibitions, bringing a touch of pop and baroque to the museum’s collections.

Wed-Sun 10-12 & 2-6.

Admission 5.50; under-15s free.


Musee de l’Hotel Sandelin, 14 Rue Carnot, Saint-Omer, 62

1-31 Mar 2016

Le Mois de l’Art Deco A month-long celebration of the architecture of the 1920s that is so prevalent in northern France following the devastation of World War I. Participating towns have guided walks, talks etc.


Arras, Bethune, Bruay, Lens, Lievin and Douai


6 March 2016

Carnaval de Bergues  Procession through the walled town from 3pm. Cheeses and sausages are tossed to the crowds at 5pm.


Bergues, 59

13 Mar 2016

Regates d’Amiens d’Aviron  A day of races involving 450 rowers of all ages.


Admission free; visible from the towpath.


Between Amiens rowing club and Camon, 80

19 Mar-28 Sept 2014

Beautés diaphanes, albâtres des musées de Saint-Omer  Exhibition of diaphenous creations in alabaster from the 15th to 17th centuries. Wed-Sun 10-12 & 2-6. Closed Mon, Tues & public holidays. Admission 5.50€, children free.


Musée Hotel Sandelin, Saint-Omer

20 March 2015



Foire des Rameaux  Annual Palm Sunday agricultural show in town centre, with displays, demonstrations, and competitions for various breeds, including the beautiful, chestnut-coloured local dairy breed of cow, the Rouge Flamande.


Bergues, near Dunkerque, 59

26 Mar 2016

Les Foulées Guînoises  Runs of 5km and 10km for all ages around the Guînes area.

Start 3pm.


Guînes, nr Ardres

26 Mar 2016

Bourse aux plantes et Brocante du Jardinier   A chance to buy some unusual plants and gardening equipment.


Admission free


Salle des Fetes, Naours, nr Amiens, 80

29 Mar 2015

Messiah  Handel’s great oratorio performed by French and British choirs under the direction of Mark Deller.  Soloists: James Bowman, counter-tenor; Charles Daniels, tenor, Kathryn Jenkin, soprano and Piran Legg, bass.

Starts 4pm.

Tickets 30€, students & children 10€.

Online booking


Amiens cathedral, Amiens

30, 31 Mar 2016

Monsieur de Pourceaugnac  Classic comedy/ballet by Moliere and Lully

directed here by Clément Hervieu-Léger of the Comédie Française and accompanied by William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants under the direction of Paolo Zanzu. The plot concerns a hapless Limousin gentleman trying to find his place in Paris society.

Wed 8.30pm; Thurs 7.30pm.

Tickets 15- 29 euros          



Maison de la Culture, Place Leon Gontier, Amiens, 80

Online booking




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